Hi everyone, I need some advice...
I've got quite a few relatives living outside Egypt and married to RC's who converted nominaly only. Most of them would agree with their RC spouses that:
1) The Orthodox Church is outdated / pharisaical / full of unnecessary practices / boring / etc.
2) The Orthodox are harsh, unforgiving, unloving, intolerant, self-righteous, prejudiced against moslems, full of talk talk talk as opposed to RCs who give to charity and live the "heart" of the law.
3) Actually, church & co isn't really such a big deal / no one has the absolute truth / God is all lovey dovey and wouldn't really do such a mean thing as judging anyone/ we just need to be "good" people, not harm anyone, blah blah blah blah.
4) And since the parents talk like that, with the children it's naturally even worse, and it gets to hardly believing in God at all, arguing that premarital sex isn't all too bad when people love eachother, and such things that make you feel like screaming.
Frankly, I'm getting tired of such discussions. What's more, I don't really believe such things can be argued. I think it's just the luke-warm answers you give when you don't want to concern yourself with God. At heart I really believe (truly and honestly, not just saying that) that they're far better people than I am when it comes to love thy neighbor. They are mostly generous, kind-hearted, open, and loving to other people...and yet I know this just isn't enough, many of them haven't had communion for decades or ever read the Bible and God is simply nonexistant in their lives...
I know the best thing to do is pray, and I do that all the time, and yet sometimes I feel frantic when I hear them laughing at the church and ridiculing all its practices and teachings. I wish there was something I could do but I don't know how to approach them without sounding condescending or self-righteous (which is really not the way I feel at all!). I've invited the ones who live near me to church several times (which they never did), lent them some books (which they never read), had a couple of talks where I tried all I could to be understanding and anything but judgemental...but all it did was probably just bore them, and now the topic is simply unwelcome.
I'm sure many of you had to deal with similar problems, so could any of you maybe recommend any Orthodox book that teaches the very basics: the Fall, the need for salvation, incarnation and crucifixion, living an orthodox life...anything that would somehow touch them, tell them that God is indeed alive and is worth knowing, get them interested without being too academic...
I know this is rather too much to ask of one book, but still...any suggestions?
Thanks, and remember me in your prayers.